Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signs bill addressing cyberbullying in schools.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signs bill addressing cyberbullying in schools.
Source: Office of the Governor

Effective July 1, 2013, schools in New York State will be required to take action when students experience cyberbullying or other forms of harassment. The new law, Chapter 102 of the Laws of 2012,* is designed to "ensure that school districts take immediate steps to end harmful behavior, prevent recurrences, and ensure the safety of the targeted students." 

The new law also provides for improved training to help teachers and administrators better prevent and respond to bullying and other harmful acts. In addition, it specifically addresses situations  “where it is foreseeable that the conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse might reach school property.”

According to the Office of the Governor, the “new law is designed to strengthen a school's response to harassment and bullying through improved reporting, investigation, intervention, training and prevention.” 

Key provisions:

1. Require Schools to Act When Cyberbullying Occurs

The law requires that schools act in cases of cyberbullying, which may occur on or off campus, when it creates or would create a substantial risk to the school environment, substantially interferes with a student’s educational performance or mental, emotional or physical well-being, or causes a student to fear for his or her physical safety.

2. Ensure Proper Protocols Are in Place to Deal with Cyberbullying

The law requires school districts to put in place protocols to deal with cyberbullying, harassment, bullying and discrimination, including assignment of a school official to receive and investigate reports; prompt reporting and investigation; responsive actions to prevent recurrence of any verified bullying; coordination with law enforcement when appropriate; development of a bullying prevention strategy; and notice to all school community members of the school’s policies.

3. Set Training Requirements For School Employees to Help Identify and Prevent Cyberbullying

The law sets training requirements for current school employees, as well as for new teachers and administrators applying for a certificate or license, on the identification and mitigation of harassment, bullying, cyberbullying and discrimination.

* A copy of the text of the bill is available from NYPPL by e-mail upon request. E-mail your request to and type “Cyberbullying” in the subject line,